Mark Hayward is the owner of Palmetto Guesthouse, an inviting and cozy guesthouse for active travelers looking to visit Culebra Island, Puerto Rico. I’ve known Mark for quite sometime. In fact, I met Mark while surfing the Internet looking for information on Puerto Rico’s smaller islands and that’s where I saw his guesthouse website and from there I found him on Facebook and introduced myself.
I was very impressed on how Mark was able to utilize social media to promote his guesthouse and services. I love the idea of him using cost effective and very creative strategies to make his guesthouse known online since it’s very difficult for him to promote it traditionally. Culebra Island is miles away from the main island of Puerto Rico but he still manages to reach curious travelers globally by building an online presence.
I liked how Mark uses WordPress as the CMS sitebuilder, this allows him to effectively provide the right content at any time since it’s created online. WordPress is also known for it’s strong SEO capabilities, functional plugins and ease of use making it the perfect platform for him to use since he spends alot of his time managing the guesthouse. Social media comes into play when he integrates his Facebook, Twitter and Youtube networks onto the homepage. This allows visitors to follow Mark, socialize with him and become more familiar with the island. This will also attract members of online communities that are interested in traveling, island hopping, or seeking outdoor activities in new and tropical surroundings.
Having social media doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed success unless you’re providing the right content. Mark does an excellent job in using visual elements such as pictures and videos to show the beauty of Culebra Island as well as blog posting special spotlights on his past guests, describing their experiences on the island and at the guesthouse. This shows that Mark really goes out of his way to make the guesthouse “feel a home away from home” for all of his guests while they explore the island.
I had an opportunity to interview Mark on some of his social media strategies that made his small island guesthouse gain such a big presence online:
My consistency has dropped off because we are almost always busy, but my main focus was always fresh content on Culebra Blog, consistent uploads to Flickr & YouTube, being remarkably helpful on travel forums, and monitoring TripAdvisor. That’s it…
Small business owners need to focus on doing one or two things really well and not get caught up in the hype of trying to be everywhere. Are you familiar with ProBlogger.net? I have been a regular small biz contributor there and the following are some of my posts that you might find interesting:
I like to thank Mark for his time and if you need a little vacation try out the Palmetto Guesthouse, you have a chance to get to know the owner right now.
- Social Media Attack Plan (my-creativeteam.com)
- 7 Critical Questions on Social Media Strategy [Mike "Winfreight" Shraga] (ecademy.com)
- Lost in Social Media: The Phase of Integration #lostinsm (blogs.cisco.com)
- Managing a Guesthouse & More – Ella, Sri Lanka (travelpod.com)
- Finding Your Social Media Voice (socialmediatoday.com)